The Importance of Hardscaping for Outdoor Spaces

hardscape

Hardscaping is an essential part of creating the ideal outdoor space. This attractive feature of landscaping offers both flexibility and aesthetically pleasing designs. In fact, there are several ways people can utilize hardscaping to meet the specific goals they have created for their outdoor space. While vegetation is also important to consider, hardscaping is an excellent way to develop your outdoor space. Hardscaping offers landscaping solutions that are both appealing and functional. It allows for the creation of spaces that serve a purpose and are pleasing to the eye. In this sense, hardscaping has the beneficial quality of accounting for both form and function.

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From Chaos to Curb Appeal

curb appealHumankind loves to live among beautiful things, and this love by no means excludes the exteriors of our homes. Most homeowners try to make their lawns attractive with plants and trees, but unless they have a grasp of perspective and harmony, they will have a difficult time achieving true curb appeal. This may sound daunting, but it is by no means hard to make your house and lawn look well from the street if you take a few key details into consideration.

The pivot of the entire effect is your house itself. A lawn should blend with and enhance the house so that rather than presenting itself as a separate object, it joins with the house to form a cohesive unit. One way of doing this is by color.

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Lime and Your Lawn

lawnThe coming of spring means a number of things: thorough cleaning, lighter clothing, warmer weather, and for homeowners, lawn care. As the dangers of snow and freezing temperatures pass, it becomes necessary to prepare for the planting, growing, and nurturing of grass, flowers, and other vegetation. Before anything goes into the ground, however, you must first ensure the health of your soil; no amount of caring for your plants will be of any use if the soil they are to grow in will not support that growth. That is why it is important that you consider the necessity of liming your lawn.

Symptoms Calling for Lime

Briefly, your lawn is in need of liming when the soil is too acidic. Since the majority of plants and grass will not grow properly in acidic soil, you may observe your lawn losing its usual vigor if it is suffering from excess acidity. Grass may turn yellow, and weeds, which do thrive on acidity, may abound. You may also observe the appearance of lawn moss and an increase of harmful insects. All of these changes can occur when the pH level of the soil is too low, and lawn treatments for these problems may not have good results when faced with acidity.

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Mulch Madness

mulchAs we upgrade the landscape during the spring and add new plants, we keep consistency in mind, so our yard looks fabulous and well-put together. Mass plantings and focal points in the yard benefit significantly from a covering of attractive mulch. Use the same product for all your beds to add a uniform appearance. Mulch offers many other benefits.

 

 

Mulching:

  • Helps hold in and conserve moisture
  • Shades weed growth to keep them from sprouting
  • Insulates plant roots, keeping them somewhat cooler in summer and warmer in winter
  • Breaks down to improve soil and provide nutrients to plantings
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Prepping Your Lawn and Landscape for Spring

When the weather warms up in spring, don’t you just itch to get outside and start prepping your lawn and landscape? That’s a good thing because your yard needs attention after the long winter. In that spirit, here are a few things you should work on the outside when the weather begins to warm up, but before spring begins in earnest.

Remove Dead and Dried Foliage on Perennials

Begin by removing the foliage from last year on your perennials. In most cases, you would have removed it last fall, but plants like ornamental grasses and hydrangeas retain their foliage all winter. This provides interest in your landscape during the winter months, but the dead stuff has to be removed in spring, so new growth has all the room it needs to grow and thrive. Pull it or cut it off just above ground level and trash it or add it to your compost pile.

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Build Compost for Your Home Garden

from natural compostComposting is an inexpensive, simple, effective means of adding nutrient-rich humus to your soil. Recycle waste from your kitchen and yard while creating a natural fertilizer that’s great for the environment.

Compost Pile

This option is free to set up, assuming you have the materials on hand. You’ll need a space approximately 3’ square, the perfect size to allow your compost pile to reach the optimal temperature for breaking down organic material.

Gather your materials:

  • Brown material: dead leaves, wood chips, nut shells, hay, corn and other husks, breads, etc
  • Green material: fruit and vegetable kitchen scraps, grass, weeds and green leaves
  • Soil material: manure, mature compost, or soil
  • Cover: this can be a plastic tarp, wood, or even carpet pieces. You’ll want to cover the compost pile enough to control moisture and heat, but not so much that oxygen can’t reach it
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Not Mowing Your Grass During the Winter

lawnYou’ve probably heard experienced lawn care experts recommend suspending mowing during the winter season. What science underlies this advice? Why not cut your grass at this time of year?

Dormancy: An Important Rest Period

Most grasses continue growing very slowly during the winter. However, just like trees, grass plants react to the marked change in environmental conditions during colder months of the year. They experience a period of dormancy in which their rate of growth slows down significantly. The plant instead directs energy towards its root system.

Every time you cut back a growing plant (including grasses), you cause some degree of physical stress. While verdant lawns sustain regular mowing during warmer seasons, the consequences of cutting grass plants during cold months may prove fatal. Just as you would not want to prune a tree too heavily, it remains a wise precaution to avoid imposing a lot of unnecessary stress on your lawn during bitterly chill periods of the year. Grass simply does not grow at a rapid pace during colder months.

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Control These Winter Weeds

winter weedsIf you’ve longed for a rich, lush green lawn, you may have taken steps in the past to sow grass seeds and apply fertilizer and soil amendments to nourish the turf. While little growth seems to occur during dormant winter months, in Maryland and Virginia some categories of weeds actually begin thriving during this time of year. Without the implementation of effective control measures, some unwelcome weeds may monopolize available resources when spring arrives and interfere with your plans to maintain attractive expanses of grass.

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Protecting Your Deck Throughout Winter

deck_winterYour deck has been your friend during summer; giving you the perfect spot for entertaining friends, basking in the beautiful outdoor weather and often displaying your spring and summer blooms and foliage. Keep your deck in proper condition by preparing it for the winter. Things you can do include:

Begin by clearing the deck. Remove the plants, the grill, the seating and anything else that’s on it. Autumn is the ideal time for this project, but it’s not too late if you missed that opportunity. Here in Alexandria, VA, we might still have some pleasant and warm days before the cold is consistent with us. If you just do not have the time or inclination to clear the deck you can always call on the professionals.

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